Smartphones have truly revolutionized travel, with mobile boarding passes, Google Maps, and traffic alerts, to name just a few. Now, smartphones are going to help ease the hotel check-in process with Starwood hotel chain’s new program, SPG Keyless. This will allow members of the Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) loyalty program who have valid bookings to skip the commotion at the reception desk and access their rooms simply by touching their phones to a door-lock reader through Bluetooth communication.
The Starwood hotel chain includes St. Regis, The Sheraton, Westin, W, and Le Meridien, Loft, and Four Points. However, currently the program is only available in Starwood’s Element and W branded hotels, and for pre-booked hotel rooms only. Guests looking to participate in this new program need to download the SPG app, available for Android and iOS. They’ll receive their room number through the app and unlock their rooms as soon as their check in times are ready. This app will also give them access to gyms and elevators if need be as well. However, the program is in its infancy stages and has a few drawbacks; only one phone per room can be activated, meaning if others are staying in the room they’ll need a traditional key to access the room.
In the last few years, other hotel chains, including Marriott, introduced systems that allowed guests to check in with their phone and then pick up an activated key card at a kiosk or at a special desk. Starwood even mailed key cards to some loyalty-program members who in turn could activate the card for access to some of the chain’s more high-tech properties via the Smart Check-in Program. Now Starwood thinks this keyless, phone-based access is the future of that process.
Not only does SPG Keyless alleviate a perennial pain point for travelers, but it also transforms the first interaction with our guests from one that is transactional to something more personal,” said Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “This is just the beginning, because through mobile we have the opportunity to marry high tech and high touch to transform the hotel experience in many exciting ways.”
SPG Keyless goes live tomorrow, November 5th, at the following hotels: Aloft Beijing, Aloft Cancun, Aloft Cupertino, Aloft Harlem, W Doha, W Hollywood, W Hong Kong, W New York-Downtown, W Singapore and Element Times Square. Starwood will rapidly rollout SPG Keyless with plans for it to be available on 30,000 doors in 150 hotels around the globe by early 2015 across Aloft, Element and W hotels.